China has set up a firm tasked with introducing and developing cutting-edge nuclear technology, state media reported last week. Wang Binghua, the former general manager of China Power Investment, a state-owned holding corporation, has been appointed the chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Co Ltd., the Xinhua news agency said. The firm was established as part of China's effort to deliver the most advanced nuclear technology into commercial use, according to the Shanghai Securities News.
The technology, often referred to as third-generation, boasts improved safety systems, lower construction costs and higher efficiency. The Shanghai newspaper said China planned to invest around $50 billion by 2020 to build 30 nuclear reactors. The installed capacity of nuclear power stations would improve from the current 8,000 megawatts to 40,000 megawatts.
At the end of 2006, only 1.9% of China's total energy needs were produced by nuclear power but this is set to increase to 4% by 2020.
As part of the plan to promote the third-generation nuclear technology, China signed in March a framework agreement with Westinghouse for four nuclear power plants.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007